Dillon, CO Ice Castle

As soon as I saw that the Ice Castle was coming to Colorado I May have squealed like a 5 year old girl..just maybe. We have plans to go up soon and make a weekend out of it and I'm SO excited! Ive wanted to visit the Ice Hotel in Sweden for years, so this will do till I can make it over there in the winter!

 

 

 

 

Heres a little info about the Colorado ice castle!

 


WHAT: Elaborate, acre-sized castle in Dillon, CO made entirely from ice. One of four Ice Castles in the United States.
WHERE: Dillon, CO
WHEN: Tickets On Sale Now!
VISUALS: -- Amazing ice formations including icicle-dripped archways, canyons, caverns, and ice-carved tunnels.

-- Attraction includes an interactive winter playground with ice slides, thrones, fountains, and maze-like passages.
-- Kids and families can zip down ice slides, crawl through tunnels, and explore different icy rooms in the stunning Narnia-like wonderland.
-- Experience the natural brilliant blue tones of the ice during the day, or see ever-changing, colorful LED-lights embedded in the ice twinkle to music at night. Built by hand and made from more than 20,000,000 pounds of ice, the Ice Castles in Dillon, CO are pure, unforgettable family fun!

 

Find all of the details for your visit: IceCastles.com

And now for some exciting news for you!
My readers get to save off admission! Fun and Unique experience with your family at Amazing Ice Castles! Save 15% off tickets using promo code "happykids"

 

 

Screen Shot 2018-01-09 at 8.11.39 AM.png

Stockholm, Sweden with kids

This post has been half written in my drafts forever! And I've recently had a few people asking for Stockholm tips so here it is!

When to GO

Definitely summer. Fall is cool and rainy, winter dark and cold, spring still not quite warm, so summer is definitely best! The whole 'sun doesn't set' in the summer thing is pretty magical as well. But be aware that a lot of businesses close down in parts of july because everyone goes on vacation. 

Where to Stay

This last trip we stayed at two different hotels, one on the first part of our trip, and one on the end. Both were amazing!

J Hotel  was probably the favorite. Its a bit out of the city, right on the water and SO freaking gorgeous. Its a bit more remote, but the main bus line in a 5 minute walk from the hotel, there were restaurants and shops right there PLUS a ferry boat comes right to the hotel dock all day and takes you into the city in just 20 minutes. Such a fun public transportation mode with kids. They Loved it! We used that almost every day. Another bonus was the hotel had a balcony for us to hang out on after we got the kids to bed. 

sweden5.jpg

 

Hotel Stureplan was the second hotel we stayed at. This one is Right in the middle of the city and all the action. A super old building that was also really charming. The breakfast was in the courtyard every morning which was super cozy. We didn't have to take any transportation while staying there because it was so close to everything and we just walked everywhere. One amazing thing about this hotel was that right outside of our room was a big common area room with couches and tables, super cool antique looking furniture. So after we would get the kids to sleep in the room we would sit there in the lobby and eat, watch House of Cards on Netflix and relax, all while we could see the room and hear them with the door cracked. It worked out so great! 

sweden3.jpg

What to Do

Theres So much to do with kids in Stockholm, we barely scratched the service! Here are some of our favorites

Skansen is a Must for all ages. Its a an open air museum/zoo all in one with an amazing playground and great food all in one. In the summer they have concerts there as well. You could easily spend an entire day there. 

swedeb6.jpg

 Junibacken  aka Worlds coolest children museum. The whole museum is based on characters and scenes from Astrid Lindgrens books, and I had goosebumps the entire time I was in there. Theres even a ride that takes you through scenes of the books and ends with Pippi's life size house where  you can play in (adults included!) They also have a great cafeteria style restaurant in there so go in the morning, play for a few hours and have lunch!. Its on the same little island as Skansen and other museums. When we went it was raining so we did the morning at Junibacken, had lunch, and then walked next door to the Vasa Museum for the afternoon. 

sweden8.jpg

Vasa Museum is another must. Its a ship that sank just a mile or so from the harbor and after 333 years in the 60's I believe, they pulled it up fully intact. This museum is dark and cool and we planned this one for nap time for Tindra (2 at the time) and it worked perfectly. She fell asleep in the stroller on the walk over and napped pretty much the entire time in there because of the dark. Drew walked around pushing her and reading all the millions of signs while Jasper and I explored at a faster pace because what 6 year old wants to stand around while his parents read. But it was enjoyable for everyone! 

Another super fun thing to do, with kids or without! Take a boat ride out to fjaderholmarna Its about a 20 minute boat ride from the city center. Its a tiny island with an ice-cream shop but not much else, so grab a baquette and some cheeses and make a picnic on the 'beach' Its more like big smooth rocks, but its such a fun way to spend a summer afternoon. 

Another fun thing we did was take a boat ride out to Drottningholm Castle. Actually we took the subway out to the castle, walked through the castle and grounds and then caught the ferry back to the city. 

The castle in the 'old town' area of Stockholm is also awesome to see and now part of it is also a museum. Also fun to see the changing of the guards there! You could spend all day at the castle and shopping in 'gamla stan' (old town) there also.

stockholm12.jpg

Kulturehuset in Stockholm is also really cool to visit. The top floor of the building is THE coolest kids library I've ever been in. They also have a cool art room you can pay a super small fee to get a little craft kid. We could have spent hours and hours here also. 

Another fun thing we did was take a boat tour around Stockholm, we wore headphones that gave a ton of history, and being on the water was so much fun for the kids that they let us sit there and listen/enjoy it also. 

For the best views in all of Stockholm, go up kaknastornet. Go up there and grab lunch or fika!

Since Stockholm is all on the water, you have to take a day to get In the (freezing) water. Theres tons of little beaches around, and I wish I remember the way to get to the one we did, but we took a train out to the suburbs and walked through an amazing part and ended up on a public beach that had a great ice cream and hot dog stand. Probably the kids favorite thing we did there! Don't try telling them the water is too cold! 

sweden10.jpg

Theres SO much more to do in and around Stockholm, these were just a few of our favorites! There are endless parks, shops, restaurants and museums to visit. And you don't need a car for any of it! Sweden has some of The best public transportation in the world. 

Outside of Stockholm

If you are wanting to leave the Stockholm area, here are some great places to go 

Boat to Gotland. We did this with friends, honeymooning together 8 months after our wedding and days after theirs! It was an amazing time and I can't wait to go back! We went camping on the beach, but there are hotels/cabins/airbnbs also. The town has a medieval wall around it and is so freaking cool! 

swede13.jpg
sweden12.jpg

Dalarna is another awesome region to visit. We met friends there with Jasper when he was a toddler, rented a little stuga and went to the theme park they have there. I'm sure theres tons more there to do as well! 

I could go on and on and onnnnnn about things to do in Sweden, places to visit. Next time we go I want to see more of the south! 

 

 

Fall break in Vail

We had the Best fall break in Vail last month. We had the perfect weather. Cool crisp fall mountain air with lots of sun and one day of some snow. Weather wise it couldn't have been better!  

IMG_2817.JPG

The place we stayed (Drew's boss's condo he so generously loaned us) is the Perfect location. Right at the edge of Vail- surrounded by biking trails. So of course we had to bring up our bikes. It's about a 2.5 mile bike ride along the river into Vail Village, and riding those trails was one of my favorite parts of our vacation. It helps that the kids all love it too (maybe not Jasper Quite as much as the littlest since he actually has to work) but the bike rides were all a success! We need to go back in the summer! The bike rides will be even more enjoyable in 70 degree temps

IMG_2864.JPG
IMG_2855.JPG

We spent the days biking, eating delicious food, playing at a few really cool parks, playing games, watching disney classics at night.. 

IMG_2987.JPG

The only day the weather was bad we decided to drive to Glenwood Springs (45-60 minutes away) and spend the day at the hot springs. This might have been the very best day there if I HAD to pick. This was our third time in Glenwood Springs and its always So magical. With the snow and fog in the morning it just added to the magic. We got there about 10:30 ish and spent a few hours at the hot springs, then showered and walked across the bridge to the BEST burger place. Seriously the best. We eat there every time we are there and are never ever disappointed. The kids were all a bit warn out from all the swimming that it ended up being the most relaxing lunch/dinner! And we were there for probably 75 ish minutes just eating and coloring and it was just the best. Seriously if you find yourself find yourself in the Glenwood Springs area, make sure you visit Grind, you WONT regret it! 

DAF47705-3BCF-43F9-BD4F-F8B4DF60199F.JPG

After lunch we walked around town for a little bit hoping Soren would sleep but that didn't happen, and then back to the hot springs for a few more hours. After we got back in the hot springs a second time we actually ran into some people from our church! Small world huh, 3 hours away from home. They also have 3 kids close to the same age as ours so the kids had lots of fun playing with them. Their daughter is actually in Tindras sunday school class- our church is huge, i think 6K plus people? So thats pretty crazy! After the hot springs we went back and had hot chocolate and then BED! I think we all slept Really good that night. 

Theres just something about getting away from the city and up into the mountains. We live so close (well not SO close but you know, not that far) but we can go a couple months with out having a real reason to get up there, and after a certain amount of time I just feel this pull, this Need to get up there. Life is slower, up there. Calmer. The air purer. The smells clearer. If you aren't a mountain lover I can't explain it, but for those of you that are, you get it. 

Until next time Rockies. 

Fall in the Rockies

Last weekend I convinced Drew that instead of watching the first half of the Broncos game we Needed to head up to the mountains to check out the fall color before it disappears. Luckily there was a rain delay for the game so he only ended up missing the first quarter anyway. Win win!

Naturally the photographer in me just HAD to bring my tripod and attempt the perfect family picture. HA. Yeah didn't really happen. Apparently kids Really don't want to look at a camera when there is no one holding it. Also my remote was acting up so I had to keep pushing the button and running to jump into the picture. Also hard to get kids to focus when mom keeps running back and forth. BUT we did get to see some gorgeous yellow fall color, and spent a cozy few hours in the mountains with Zero tears or tantrums so I'm counting it as a win!

Aren't those Aspens just stunning? Sadly they don't last every long here. If fall could last like 3 months, like Legit fall that would be wonderful wouldn't it? Here fall is so short and its usually mixed in with summer and winter. Take today for example, its the first day of fall. But its like high 80's. And this weekend its going to be 50's and rain, which will feel a little like winter. So like 2 seconds of fall? Fickle fickle Colorado. We love you anyway. 

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Oh hey I guess I forgot I had a blog over the summer. I tend to do that every summer. Life is always busy, but having all three kiddos home all day adds to the madness! But the best kind of madness. Mostly. More on summer later.

We started our summer with a trip to the Great Sand Dunes National Park. Its been on my bucket list for years, but theres such a short window of time to go when the creek is flowing (May-mid june) that we always miss it. Theres only a few cabins right there outside the park and they fill up Fast. But when I called in May I asked if they had ANY openings, and we lucked out with an early June opening during the week so we jumped on it. And SO glad we did!

There aren't words to describe the beauty of the sand dunes. Its so unexpected, to be driving through the mountains, and then all of a sudden you are in this valley surrounded by mountains on all sides except for these massive sand dunes in front of you. Just unreal! If the sand dunes aren't on your bucket list they should be! And definitely make sure you go when Medano creek is flowing!

Some tips: 

Stay at the  Oasis  cabins. They are Right outside the park, you can't get closer unless you are tent camping inside the park. They are small and 'rustic' but it was perfect for us with enough room for all 5 of us. 

Bring the food you are going to want to eat. Theres only a tiny store that carried some basic items and a small cafe right there, otherwise you need to drive like 30 minutes or so to the nearest town. We brought a huge cooler and cooked all of our meals except lunch on the first day we arrived, we had that at the cafe. 

SUN SCREEN. I mean thats a given with the altitude and elevation and SUN, but put on more than you think you need and more often than you think you need. Between the sand and the water, you will get fried if you don't wear like a million SPF. No but seriously, we had on 100 SPF and still needed to reapply every 60-90 minutes and we still got some sun. Tindra who never burns was peeling like crazy the next couple of days. 

Other information; you can rent sleds with wax at the little shop at the Oasis cabins, definitely do that. And bring sand toys. Plan on lots of time at the creek. Our kids could have spent all day every day there and done nothing else and would have been happy. Its more like a beach with waves than a creek and its So fun! Also, bring tubes to float in! And water shoes!

 

 

Officially a 'Tindragartner'

Tindras last day of PreK was yesterday and today was their ceremony! It was so stinking cute! It was 'Oh the Places You'll Go' themed, and the teachers gave them all their own copy of the book, with special messages inside from their teachers. So special! The kiddos sang a few songs and got their diplomas. Can't believe we will have two in Elementary school in the fall! 

IMG_0078.JPG
IMG_0081.JPG
IMG_0084.JPG
IMG_0105.JPG
IMG_0116.JPG
IMG_0107.JPG
First and last day of PreK! She won the class award for 'Most Stylish'  

First and last day of PreK! She won the class award for 'Most Stylish'  

Mothers day

We finally had amazing weather on Mother's Day! The last few years it's been terrible, even snowing, but not this year!  

We started off the day by riding our bikes to church (about a 5.5 mile round  trip with lots of hills!) and then grabbing brunch at Panera after. We were going to go fishing at the little pond behind our house after naps and I was going to read in the sun (pure bliss!) but Soren ended up taking almost a 4 hour nap (!!!!!) so that messed up our plans a little bit! We ended up just hanging out and then grabbing dinner on a patio. Pretty relaxing Mother's Day! Hope everyone else had an amazing day!  

IMG_0009.JPG
IMG_0016.JPG

Wilmington, NC

*This was originally posted on my other blog (tales of a young mamma) but I want all my travel posts on what blog so I'll be adding different travel posts here*

This was one of those once in a life time trips (that I hope to repeat!) and I'm so so thankful everything worked out the way it did and we were able to make it all happen.

 

Drew drove out with me to Iowa to spend a few days working there before he went to Arizona and we went to NC which was really helpful having him there for that part of the drive. 

My mom and I started the drive at 3 AM after we had gotten a few hours sleep. Our first stop was Asheville and it's about a 13 hr drive from my moms to there and we wanted to get some of the driving done when the kids were asleep. Perfect choice, so by the time we made our first stop for gas/breakfast/feed Soren/ switch drivers the kids had slept the whole way and we were already 4 hours into the drive.I can't say enough about how my kids are amazing travelers. Seriously the best. 

We made it to Asheville in time for dinner and running around a bit before bed. And the next day the kids had the times of their lives running around in the mountains at my aunts and uncle's house. Picking berries, playing in their pond for hours, roasting marshmallows.. as much as I like to think they are city kids, they really thrive out in nature. 

After our time in Asheville we made the 6 hour drive to Wilmington to spent the week on the beach with my sister, brother in law their son, and my brother, sister in law and their son. We had two condo's in a 4 plex literally Right on the beach. We couldn't possibly have been any closer. 

 

We had the best week. We would get up..too early, and my mom would usually take the kids to the beach pretty early while I would stay back with Soren for his first nap before we joined them. Then after lunch and nap often we would go back down to the beach. 

 

The kids absolutely fell in love with the beach. Jasper would have spent every second in the ocean if we would have let him, while Tindra was content to hang back and play in the sand while going in for dips with me or another adult. 

 

 

They had so much cousin time and loved every minute of it.  I thought by the end of the week we would all be sick of the beach, but nope..we could have easily stayed longer and still had a blast. Best part about the beach? Best naps and sleep time. They would be so exhausted they would fall asleep the second their heads in their pillows. Which is a major bonus when on vacation. And then the adults would meet on the deck right outside with baby monitors for game playing and some drinks. 

One day my mom and I took a break from the beach and took the kids to Jungle Rapids, a water park right in Wilmington. We definitely could have stayed there all day! And probably would have if Tindra and Soren weren't so badly needing naps! Tindra really became a fish at this pool and was finally brave enough to put her face under the water(!!!!) and Jasper felt like such a big kid being allowed to go on all the tube rides by himself, with me waiting at the bottom, though I did go on a few with him as well! We also took turns taking them go carting there, which Jasper basically thought was the coolest thing ever, and I definitely won some cool points when I pulled into first place at the very end. 

We lucked out an had amazing weather the entire time we were there, except one afternoon called for rain so we decided it was the perfect time to go to Fort Fisher Aquarium. If you are in the area this is another must do. My kids Love aquariums, and this is definitely the coolest one they have been to. They got to touch a shark (!!) and a star fish and some sort of really big crab. They also have a lorikeet habitat where you go in and feed them, probably the hi light for Jasper especially. One jumped on his head while he was feeding it and he hasn't stopped talking about it since!!

 

After our time in Wilmington we drove to Charlotte to visit family there, I'll save those pictures for the next NC recap!

Thanks to Jungle Rapids and Fort Fisher Aquarium for having us come visit!

Spring is in the air

Last week the pretty white trees (anyone know what these are called?) had bloomed so naturally I dragged T out to 'model' for me. I had to bribe her with jelly beans, and basically she sang the entire time (hence the eyes closed) but I still managed to get some shots! Poor photographers daughter. 

Its finally starting to warm up and Stay warm, which makes me oh so happy. I love winter, I really do. I love all four seasons, maybe even equally. But every time the season changes I get so excited. I guess its part of me that loves change. Craves it. I only stay happy with one season for so long before I'm ready for the next. 

I have noticed the older I get that I'm like that with life also. Only content for so long. Trust me its something I'm working on! Its just so long that we have had something Major happening ever year to look forward to, plan for. Just going back a few years, in 2010 we got married. In 2011 we went on our big Swedish honeymoon (and also got pregnant) in 2012 we had a baby. In 2013 we bought/sold a house and moved. In 2014 we went on our big Sweden/Iceland/Norway adventure (and got pregnant.) In 2015 we had another baby. In 2016 we bought a house and moved to the suburbs And shortly after went on an amazing vacation (florida and caribbean cruise) And now its 2017. And we don't have anything major on the horizon . And thats unusual for us. But we have a great life. We have three healthy, happy, amazing children. Drew has a great job. We love our home. Things are good. And I need to remind myself (often) to be content with that. 

But now Spring is here. Flowers are blooming. Bike rides are happening, patio season is here,  Spring soccer has started . And we are all good, really good. 

Vikings

A couple months ago I had the opportunity to send my DNA into GPS Origins to have them test it. I've always wanted to do this, so naturally I jumped at the opportunity. 

 

They sent me a kit and all I had to do what take some cheek swabs with the large Q-tips they sent and mail it back and wait patiently for a few weeks!

 

Here's a little science lesson for those of us who don't get how this whole gene mapping works. 

 

 

So what I learned was my family is from Sweden (which I obviously already knew given my dad was born and raised there, but what I didn't know was that my ancestors actually traveled to Iceland and settled Iceland. My dad always joked we were Vikings, but turned out my ancestors actually were Vikings. Crazy huh? My ancestors also settled the Orkney Islands ( islands off the coast of Scotland settled by Scandinavian vikings) about 6000 years ago! So amazing to have that knowledge! 

 

 

When we moved to the US from Sweden, my first big school project was to research and dress up as Leif Ericsson (funny side note, there were only two girls on the list to chose from, and I got to choose first because I had literally Just moved here, and I thought I was picking one of the girl names, because from where I sat, and my terrible eyes I thought it said Leah...so yeah I thought I was picking one of the girl names to dress up as, and the whole class assumed I picked the viking because I had just moved from Sweden.) I have a picture somewhere of me dressed in fur, with aluminum horns coming out of a helmet as a viking. Turns out that picture isn't that far of a stretch! 

 

I've always known I'm Swedish on my dads side and Italian and Swedish from my moms side. But I also found out that my ancestors were from Sardinia, Greece, Albania, and The Balkans! I want to go got all of these places so badly, and walk the same places my ancestors did thousands of years ago. Wouldn't that be amazing? 

 

Oh just hanging out in the Blue Lagoon that my ancestors discovered 

Oh just hanging out in the Blue Lagoon that my ancestors discovered 

Being Swedish Vikings in Stockholm during Midsummer 2014

Being Swedish Vikings in Stockholm during Midsummer 2014

 

I want to figure out some way to get all this information up on a little map for the kids so they can see where part of their DNA comes from, now we just need to do Drew's so they can have both sides! 

Grand Lake getaway!

Drew has been wanting to get his Grandpa out here (from Nebraska) to go ice fishing forever, and finally they made it happen! My sister in law has family friends that have an amazing house up there that they so generously let us borrow for the long weekend, and we all had such an amazing time!

 

6FD4BC29-0735-4152-9DA7-37EAD0E79421.JPG

The guys all went ice fishing two of the days, while my sister and law and I hung out at the house with the kids, played games during nap time, and played in the snow! One of the days they went ice fishing we brought them lunch and hung out for a while, J loved it so much he wanted to stay the rest of the day and went back again the next day. Tindra liked it but insisted on crawling everywhere because the ice was pretty slippery and Soren..well Soren needed to be carried or pulled on the sled the entire time. It was so much fun being out on the ice, reminded me so much of my childhood in Northern Sweden. 

1626AB88-16E3-48B9-9723-9BB85FE4E4E8.JPG
A736BAE3-24EE-4187-9135-EFE195093C69.JPG
90B493FB-8E34-430E-A35B-CB2C3C7D101C.JPG
FE840A53-0C53-424D-9F83-BB32D6EFE0B6.JPG
2A2F81D6-5AA6-4432-97A5-2C4818237E50.JPG
3741CA43-FF68-4BED-9387-3B6145CBE866.JPG
937707E8-EFCC-4B83-B82C-2D70017CB7AC.JPG

I've wanted to go snow shoeing forever, and we finally did! After going snow shoeing with a toddler strapped to my back I think I can officially call myself a Coloradan! 

Our last day it snowed in the afternoon, which made the super cozy weekend even cozier! Heres a little clip of the sledding, excuse the coughing and hoarse voice- I came up with a bad cold the day we went up there and it lasted weeks! 

Thanks for everyone who helped put this weekend together, we definitely need to do it again sometime! 

Mini Getaway to Vail

A couple of weeks ago my mom came to town to watch the kiddos and Drew and I went away for the first time since our honeymoon in 2011! I was dreading leaving the kids, but they had a great time with Grammy and the getaway was even more needed that I thought possible. 

IMG_1151.JPG

We had an amazing time with amazing food, shopping, relaxation and some adventure!  

IMG_1154.JPG

We had been planning on a day of skiing, but once we got up there we decided to try something new- a snow mobiling tour! At the recommendation of a friend we went with Nova guides and they did Not disappoint! Our guide was the best! He picked us up at the condo we were staying and drove us 40 min or so to the lodge.  

IMG_1174.JPG

We spent the next 4ish hours riding up and down the mountain, it was seriously amazing. It was snowing off and on the whole time and Really freaking cold (I believe single digits which feels a a lot colder while riding in 30-40 MPH with no cover! The snow suits helped for sure, but towards the end of the trip I couldn't feel my fingers and toes anymore and I was convinced my face had frost bite (spoiler alert, it didn't!)  Because we had a small group, and our tour guide thought we could handle it, he took us to the very very top, i think it was a little above 12,500 feet? We stopped for just a minute up there as it was REALLY FREAKING COLD and low visibility with the wind and it was snowing at that point. I took my glove of for 15 seconds to take a video- mistake! I couldn't even put my phone away before I had to get my gloves on and seriously couldn't feel my hand in that short amount of time. Things could get dangerous up there really quickly! 

When we got back to the lodge lunch was waiting for us! I can't even tell you how amazing that burger, fries and cherry coke tasted after the morning of snow mobiling. Partly from the cold but also partly from the adrenaline I think, but my body was shaking for a good 30 minutes after as we ate lunch waiting for our guide to take us back down.

Basically as soon as we got back to the condo we were staying in it was time to go across the street to our massages we had booked the day before. The spa has an outdoor heated pool/hot tub so we went and sat in there first, followed by the steam room and jacuzzi before it was time for massages. If you were wondering what the best way to spend an afternoon after 4 hours outside in the freezing weather- THIS is it. Couples massages, hot tea, followed by pedicures for both of us. Seriously bliss. Pure bliss.

After all that we had the most amazing dinner at terra bistro. Two whole hours of enjoying dinner just us. Now THAT is un heard of. Even on a night out  just us we don't sit for dinner that long, we try to hurry up and eat and get to a movie or something, so I literally can't think of a single time in the last almost 10 years of being parents that we have sat and enjoyed such a long dinner. And dessert! 

The rest of our stay up in Vail was spent walking around, shopping, eating at several delicious restaurants, and even some outlet shopping on the way home. It really was the Perfect 3 day getaway, but I was Super anxious to get home to my babies. Even turning down going into the Coach outlet just so we could get on the road and home earlier to see them. And they had the most amazing time with grammy while we were gone! She's apparently a lot more fun than we are..no surprise there! I was thinking Soren would wean himself while I was away, but don't you worry he was up 6 times the night I got back reclaiming his territory. Every time he would wake up he would claim 'mamma all done bye bye' Sure is nice to be loved and missed! But he was 100 percent fine when we were gone. 

Vacationing with my kids is my absolute favorite thing in the world to do, but a getaway with just Drew might be a close second. 

 

IMG_1199.JPG
IMG_1193.JPG
IMG_1207.JPG
IMG_1161.JPG

Recipe: Super Easy White Bread

Theres something about this time of year that just has me craving fresh warm home made bread. This is the one my mom always made growing up, sometimes she would put bacon bits in it, or sun flower seeds. Its so easy and really really good! 

Ingredients:

3 1/2-4 C flour (I start w 3 1/2 cups and add a little more if its still sticky) 

2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

1 1/2 C water

1 table spoon sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

 

Directions:

Mix water, (a little bit above room temperature) sugar and yeast. Mix it and let it sit for 10 minutes to make sure it 'rises' a bit. You can tell when it does, it looks a lot thicker and 'bigger'.

Next mix in flour and salt with the water/yeast/sugar mixture. Kneed until it's smooth. 

Next place the dough ball into a greased big bowl, cover with a towel and let it rise for an hour. 

After the hour is up, punch it down a bit for a minute, form it into an oval shape and cut three little diagonal lines across it (not sure if this is necessary, I just see everyone else do this) and put it on a lightly greased baking sheet and cover with towel again. Let it rise another hour. 

 

Bake it at 350 for 35-40 minutes and EAT it while it's warm! With Butter! And maybe a slice of cheese! And add a cup of tea. That makes it the best. Just trust me. Last night we had this with spicy Italian soup. We are supposed to get a snow storm tonight/tomorrow so I think I'm going to make another loaf so we can have the leftover soup! 

 

*I have also made it into two bread tins by splitting the dough in two and making oval shaped balls and placing it in the middle, it spread and covered most of the pan. Make sure pan is greased so it comes out nice and easy. 

 

 

A look back at 2016

We had such a crazy, busy, but really good year!

We bought a house, moved to the suburbs, started new schools, went on the most amazing family vacation (visited THREE new countries in the process) went from having a baby to an almost TWO year old, and so so much more. 

Last year I put together a little slide show and loved looking back on it so much I needed to do it again. So heres our 2016 in a few pictures! 

 

A look at past Halloweens

Halloween was one of those holidays I never really celebrated. It just wasn't a thing in Sweden (though I'm hearing its becoming a thing now? Any Swedes care to confirm?) and by the time we moved to the US I thought I was too hold for that. So as I got older I wasn't into celebrating Halloween either, just didn't get what the big deal was. 

Till I had kids. Now I GET IT. I get what the big deal is! Dressing up, picking out costumes, carving pumpkins, pumpkin patches, the whole shabang (thats not a real word apparently.) But I GET IT. 

Starting these traditions when your kids are young, so much freaking fun!! No one told me just how fun it is to be an adult and get to do these things. 

So anyway Facebook time hop showed me that 7 years ago today (SEVEN!) we took Jasper trick or treating at Boo at the Zoo for the first time, and I don't think we have missed a year since! (We go this weekend)

His first Halloween Jasper was only 2 months old and all we did was dress him in a little pumpkin onesie and wait for trick or treaters (we got Zero) but his second halloween he was the most adorable bumblebee I ever did see. 

Screen Shot 2016-10-27 at 9.15.34 PM.png

His third Halloween, and the first time he picked his own costume, he was a spider! 

The Halloween when he was three he was Very specific about who he wanted to be... Pippi Longtockings great grandfather... (from a song, Sjorova fabbe) and I kind of, sort of dropped the ball on a costume for this year as we got married in Iowa on October 23rd and spent the whole week before that and a few days after that here, so we got back Right before Halloween...so this is the only year I 'made' a costume. He was happy enough with it and thats all that counts! 

Next came the Harry Potter obsession...maybe my favorite costume ever 

Next Jasper was batman and Tindra was a zebra by day kitty by night! 

The following year Jasper decided to be a pirate, so I just HAD to get TIndra a parrot costume! They were pretty darn cute together. She was mad about having to take a picture here because she just wanted to chase the peacocks at the zoo...i guess she wanted to join their flock, birds of a feather and all that..

Next up it was Pippi Longstocking and Spiderman, probably my favorite costume of Tindras to date, she just made the cutest pippi ever. 

...and I was a pregnant cat apparently. 

Which brings us to last year. It was the first year Tindra picked out her own costume...and it took us probably an hour at Least at the halloween store, she picked up a dozen different costumes. Then when Jasper decided to be a vampire, she needed to be one too. And it was ridiculously adorable. She was SO into it. Wouldn't smile at all because apparently vampires don't smile.. Soren was a Swedish Viking, Soren the Great, and came together the night before as i randomly saw the viking hat at Whole Foods, and I didn't want him being a vampire because I didn't want him having any make up on his face. Drew and I decided to be vampires like 20 minutes before we were going trick or treating, we usually don't dress up or anything. 

Stay tuned to see what our trio will be this year for Halloween! Its probably the only year they will all be 'matching' so I will probably go into picture overload. 

Three Things

I finally got both little ones down (biggest is in school) and I'm itching to blog...but I have a ridiculous amount of housework and editing to do..so 3 quick things!

Yesterday we celebrated 6 years of marriage (just under 12 years together.) Normally after the kids are in bed we celebrate, usually low key, maybe some wine and fancy cheeses, maybe a small gift. But this year we spent it many miles apart. And it was lonelier than I would have thought it was. Even with a house full of kids (Linnea and Walter came over and that helped a TON) as soon as it was quiet and the kids were in bed I definitely through myself a pity part and ate Far too many swedish bullar (cinnamon buns) that we had baked earlier. 

* Drew is in Nicaragua volunteering at an orphanage for 10 days) and I just know its an amazing, unforgettable experience, and I can't wait to hear All about it! 

Second thing. So after the kids were in bed out of boredom and just wanting a SLIGHT change I decided to color my hair...I've done this maybe 3 times in the last decade, and its always turned out fine and barely a difference since I always get a box that says dark brown and...well I already have dark brown hair. But i feel like it makes it look shinier and more even since I sometimes have natural highlights from the sun. Wellllll Drew face time me just as I was finishing up, so in my excited to talk to him I forgot to set a timer to rinse my hair out. And I may have accidentally left the color in for 45 minutes instead of 25 like I was supposed to.... I guess I'll be going as Wednesday Adams for Halloween. 

And third. Even though I already mentioned them...you haven't Truly lived till you have had a swedish Kanel bulle. 

Happy Monday! 

Date Nights at home with Blue Apron

It's no secret that having three young kids and living 700 miles away from family can be hard sometimes. Especially when it comes to getting out with out the kiddos. It just doesn't happen as often as we would like. We found a high schooler across the street in our new neighborhood who we have used (!!!) but it still doesn't happen enough!

We didn't leave Jasper with a babysitter for the first time till he was almost 5 (kind of insane when I type that out..) so over the years we have gotten pretty good at having at home date nights. We pick a night and sometimes just watch a movie together, maybe with some yummy take out, put our phones away, and make us a priority. But we have been trying to come up with more fun ways we can have date nights at home! I'll be sharing some of those with you over the next few months.

One thing we have always enjoyed doing  but don't get the time very often is cooking together. Usually its me, or sometimes on the weekends he will grill for us, but theres not a lot of times we cook just the two of us together, but we enjoy it a lot so we are going to start making that more of a priority for a date night!

Blue Apron sent us two amazing meals to test out, and it was the perfect way to jump into a cooking together date. Usually cooking involves the menu planning, grocery shopping etc. the not so fun part of cooking. Well not with Blue Apron! They send you everything you need for the meal, including the recipe, and all you have to do is throw it together!

If you aren't familiar with Blue Apron, heres the run down.

Blue Apron is a meal delivery service that delivers farm-fresh ingredients delivered straight to you. (It came in a box filled with ice packs so it stays cold even if it sits out on the porch all day waiting for you to come home) 

There are two meal plans: the 2-person plan and the family plan (feeds a family of four hungry adults for $8.74 per person or $69.92 for an 8-serving delivery which consists of two hearty meals).

The meals are always free shipping and there are zero commitments! So you can sign up, try a week, skip a few weeks, whatever you like!
 

When we told the kids last weekend we were heading home to make dinner, Tindra called from the back seat 'Oh so we gotta stop at King Soopers first?' because thats her norm. Every time we go to make dinner we need to run to the store first, so she was super confused when we said nope we have everything we need at home!

When we got home we sent the kids into the play room to play together and Drew and I got to work on dinner alone! We threw on some music (the Oh Hellos to get us ready for their concert next week) and grabbed a drink (have you tried the alcohol cream sodas?? They are Amazingly refreshing) and got to work. 

I always make Drew handle the raw meat if we cook together, I'd rather not touch raw meat if I don't Have to, but the beef for the Housin beef and vegetable stir fry we made came pre chopped and everything! Even I can handle that kind of meat prep. 

One of the funnest things for me with Blue Apron is that in both meals we tried, it called for ingredients I never have on hand. Like Bok Choy? Egg plant? I'm pretty sure those vegetables have never made an appearance in my kitchen. But it turns out, we all loved trying all these 'new to us' vegetables. It made me step out of my comfort zone and step up the dinner game. 

After church on Sunday we made Fransese-Style Chicken with Arugula and Green Bean-Potato Salad. We started during Tindras and Sorens nap and Jasper reading time, so it was perfect to even be able to fit in a little 'day date' while the kids were resting. And then they got to wake up to a delicious late lunch/early dinner. 

Drews favorite meal was definitely the Hoisin Beef and Vegetable Stir-fry, but I was obsessed with the Chicken and green bean-potato salad. And the kids loved all of it also! 

We went with the 4 person family plan, but it fed our family of five AND we had enough leftovers between the two of them to easily fill all of us when we had leftovers after soccer Monday night. They both made HUGE meals. 

blueapron7.jpg

And now for some Super exciting news. If you want a chance to try out Blue Apron, use THIS code and you get two free meals! No commitment! . But I think after you try it, like us, you will be hooked so fair warning there! 

 

 

Cozumel, Mexico

Our last port day during our cruise was Cozumel, Mexico. Its the only day we ventured away from the ship, and not gonna lie I was a liiiiittle nervous about leaving the ship area. But my brother told we just HAD to go to  Chankkanaab National Park    and after seeing pictures I agreed. But when our taxi started driving down a semi remote road and away from the ship I definitely had an 'oh shit, what are we doing' moment. 

My worries were completely unwarranted though. We had nothing to worry about, we were completely safe and when we got to the beach of the Dolfin Discovery we could actually see our ship! My biggest worry was that we weren't going to make it back to the ship in time, and we probably cut it a too closer for comfort this day, but it all ended up being completely fine, and we had probably the best day ever!

When we got there we immediately signed up to swim with the dolphins. We thought Soren was too young and Drew and I were going to take turns each with a big kid in the water while the other stayed with Soren on land, but we were pleasantly surprised that not only was he allowed to go with us in he was also free! Score. *If you go with young babies though, they did say they have to be one to get in with the dolphins so younger than that and you will have to have a different plan*

Our time with the dolphins wasn't till 11:30 so we had an hour first to go swimming. Theres a big beach at     but theres a little alcove on the side which was Perfect for the kiddos. No waves, and clear water. We saw so many fish! 

When it was time to go swim with the dolphins Soren had Just fallen asleep in the stroller, so when we had to wake him up to put a life vest on him he was Not a happy camper. The people we were in line with to get in were shooting us some daggers about our crying one year old. But luckily for everyone as soon as he spotted the dolphins he was probably as happy as I have ever see him. I wish SO badly I had this whole experience on video, but no go pros/cameras were allowed in the water. 

Im so glad Soren knows puss (kiss in swedish) because when it was his turn to give the dolphin a kiss all i had to say was give her a puss and he leaned over and wrapped his arms around her and gave kisses. We were in the water for maybe 30-40 minutes and he was squealing with laughter the entire time. Okay we all were!

Jasper and Tindra absolutely loved the experience also. Tindra seemed a little bit timid at first when we walked down the slippery steps into the pool area (which was really the ocean but they built dividers in between the different 'pools') but as soon as the dolphin kept swimming by she was super excited also. 

I've wanted to pet a dolphin for as long as I can remember, theres just something so magical about them isn't there? So it was amazing to be able to check that one off my bucket list. But having done it once makes me even more excited to do it again some day!

After we were with the dolphins we got to walk down and get in the water with the manatees also. This part Tindra did Not like, she had decided as soon as she even saw a picture of one earlier in the day that they were stinky (they weren't) and she wasn't going to touch them. And she stuck with that. She was fine standing there in the water on the ledge and clinging to me as they s l o w l y swam by, but she refused to touch them. Once that girl has made up her mind about something, thats it. Theres no changing her mind. 

After all that it was lunch time (which was to be honest just O K) and then more swimming in the alcove and the pool there. And we walked around the whole park and saw the crocodiles (not my favorite animal) and HUGe lizards just running around. To clarify, the crocodiles were in their big cages like at a zoo- they were NOT running around. 

We took one of the last taxis out of there to get back to the ship, and spent a little time in the shops right by the cruise port. Drew had decided he had to get a pair of cowboy boots, and bargained them down (a little bit) to get pairs for both of us, even though I kept saying they were Not going to fit in our luggage.

Heres the video we made of our trip if you want to just see the cancun portion, it starts right after 5 minutes 

Long time no see!

Long time no see! Darlene have been running the ship over here while I have been working, traveling and mostly sleeping. Because I am pregnant again and more tired than I have ever been before. It is insane how tiring it is to be pregnant. How do people do it over and over again? During the last weeks of my first pregnancy I though everyone who had more than one kid was insane because by then you should know better!

We are finally in the state of excitement, until now we have been really terrified. Our first kiddo does not sleep through the night yet.. by far. He woke up 4 times last night. And then up for the day by five. Seriously, some parents have kids who sleep! How do you brew those babies? I would be happy to know!

Nesting is kicking in. I am forcing my poor partner to redo the basement… after work.. while I sleep. He is a mighty mighty good man, having patience with me. But it was long overdue..

Any advice from going to one kiddo to two? How to introduce the new baby? Dealing with sibling rivalry? Making enough time for both? (making time for your relationship I guess is just on pause for the next 3 years.. ) Anything to calm me down, please let us know! 

 

PreK

I'm blogging from my phone for the first time, so if it looks weird.. That's why. If it doesn't, I might have just discovered a game changer! It's a lot harder to make the time to go sit at my desk top and blog, but my phone is always handy!  

image.jpg

Today was a big day for miss Tindra! She started PreK! It will only be two mornings a week for a few hours, but she's been ridiculously excited and ready to start ever since Jasper started school last month. Every time we have driven past her school since we registered she calls out 'hi school, I'll see you soon!' so needless to say, she was ready.  

image.jpg

I on the other hand, I'm never ready. It's so hard for me to loosen the reigns, to let someone else take charge. I don't think that will ever get easier for me. Some moms Love handing those reigns over to someone else... Not this one.  

image.jpg

When we got into the room she was super timid which was a little surprising, and she kept saying she didn't want me to leave, but after a few minutes she warmed up to the idea of us leaving and she did fine with it. And was SO excited to tell me about her day when I picked her up. When I asked her if she liked school her response was 'yep and i want to go back there forever'... So that's a good sign? 

image.jpg

Soren and I kept busy going on a long walk by her school (he napped, I almost hit  my daily 10k steps goal) and then we went to target. Big kids in school means I spent Way too much time in target, I even had time to browse the dollar section. Sorry drew, but I promise you will love the porcelain pumpkins and fox that we just Had to get...